Yemi Adesokan, 35- year based Nigerian born researcher, has put his country’s name on the map of nations of innovation.
Adesokan’s discovery which has potential to change the way mankind responds to disease pathogens, according to experts, may bring an end the era of increased burden of drug resistance in the world particularly, in sub Saharan Africa.
When he moved to United States in 1996, little did the young innovator have realise that he was going to rub shoulders with some of the greatest names in scientific technology.
But today, Adesokan who has been listed by Technology Review, an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) USA. as one of the TR35 Award of the 2011 World top innovators. Past recipients have included Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Konstantin Novoselev (later a Nobel Laureate in Physics).
Adesokan is being so specially honoured for his work in the application of next generation sequencing to clinical diagnostics. Adesokan, who is also the founder of Pathogenica Inc., was selected as a member of the TR35 class of 2011 by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, who evaluated more than 300 nominations.
This work is being carried out by a biotechnology startup that I founded with Prof George Church of Harvard Medical School DNA technology. The Pathogenica’s test kits are able to identify the presence, allowing for physicians to screen for multiple diseases with accurate results and a rapid turnaround.
Sequencing technologies have improved a million – fold in the past seven years, bringing scientists a wealth of individual genomics and the key now is to employ the data to improve clinical practice. The DNA sequence of each individual or organism is unique, and is the most detailed signature for identification.
This year marks one decade since the completion of the Human Genome Project, a three billion-dollar effort to sequence a human genome.
A major issue in Nigeria today, is that some sterilised water may contain harmful pathogens. The technology is useful in screening a range of pathogens in water, livestock (poultry, etc.), and in food manufacturing. The key point for this technology is its high multiple. As it scales up, we actually see a reduction in price.
With the innovation, the cost of DNA sequencing has dropped more than 40,000_fold since that time to just $5,000 today. The price continues to drop. We are applying this fast, inexpensive technology in a unique way to improve routine clinical diagnostics.
Lenovo’s innovation lies in its technology, products, business model and cultural management, according to Liu Chuanzhi, founder of the Lenovo Group and president of Legend Holdings Ltd., and Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo.
International acquisitions fueling global innovation
Referring to Lenovo’s innovation history, people tend to indulge in the story of Lenovo’s buying IBM’s PC business in 2004. “At that time, Lenovo didn’t expect to become the global leader of PC industry”, said Yang Yuanqing with emotions.
To date, Lenovo’s Innovation Triangle Teams in the USA, Japan, and China collaborate have been fusing together different cultures of different countries and collaborating in a 24-hour non-stop manner to ensure leading position of Lenovo’s innovation in the world.
After successfully absorbing IBM’s PC business, Lenovo’s international acquisitions have been unstoppable. Lenovo’s international mergers, from single business like PC and server to comprehensive business like cloud computing, serve not only as effective strategies for Lenovo to strengthen its operation volume and optimize market distribution, but also a way for Lenovo to bring in talented people from different fields and fill its innovation teams with new blood.
At present, Lenovo owns about 11,000 patents globally, about 2/3 of them coming from China and 1/3 from oversea teams. According to Zhang Dekui, director of Lenovo’s Innovation division, Lenovo spends USD500 million on R&D every year, and has 5,000 product developers, including engineers, researchers, and designers, and more than 100 advanced labs around the globe. These constitute Lenovo’s unique innovation and quality guarantee system.
Complete industry chain supporting innovations on multiple levels
Liu Chuanzhi has said that “Lenovo’s first innovation is to combine technology with the high-tech industry”. In 2012, when sales of Lenovo’s PCs were thriving across the world, Lenovo keenly grasped the new trend of the mobile internet and started its PC+ strategy, beginning to increase investment in mobile internet terminals like smartphones, tablet computers, and smart TVs in the meantime of consolidating its advantages in the PC industry.
Today, the fall of some traditional PC manufacturers and the achievement of Lenovo in the PC+ area have proved that Lenovo has made a right decision. In the Q2 of the 2013 fiscal year, the global market share of Lenovo’s smartphone increased to 5.1 percent, behind only Apple and Samsung, and the growth of its tablet computers was even higher. Also, sales of Lenovo’s tablet computer and smartphones had exceeded that of its PCs for two quarters in a row, their revenue accounting for 15 percent of total revenue of the company and profit margin steadily on the rise.
In Lenovo’s Innovation Center, Lenovo’s employees, from system design engineer to software application researcher, from part technology R&D director to product design director, demonstrated Lenovo’s innovation industry chain to the reporter. Lenovo has set up technologies in four major fields to bolster the entire Lenovo business innovation endeavor, including part technology and system innovation, natural interaction technology, cloud service and big data technology, and new materials and design innovation. These make up Lenovo’s core R&D innovation strategy, dubbed “one cloud and multiple screens”, and they are also the source of Lenovo’s business innovation.
Independent manufacture and protection of innovation achievements
In October 2013, Lenovo’s industry base in Wuhan was completed and put into operation. This is a comprehensive industry base that integrates R&D, production, and sales of mobile internet terminals, with a total investment of more than RMB5 billion Yuan. “In this base, a product will need to go through dozens of labs before it is finally put onto the market, and it will be examined and checked repeatedly during production. This is the advantage of independent production and development. It can protect our innovations”, said Yang Yuanqing.
There used to be doubt that Lenovo was a computer assembler and not a core technology innovator. For this, in 2011 Lenovo began to shift its focus onto parts and components, striving to achieve breakthroughs in component technologies and walk ahead of competitors in terms of system innovation. This requires Lenovo to attach more importance to working with upstream manufacturers, extensively consolidate upstream and downstream technologies, and provide parts for system innovation. Lenovo’s independent manufacturing enables it to communicate directly with upstream manufacturers, which would increase its leverage for innovation.
10 years ago, Lenovo introduced a relation-type business model that targeted at corporate customers and government customers, to go along with its consumption business model that targeted consumers. That was a business model innovation. Now, Lenovo again introduced a new-era dual business models, with one online model and one offline model, and its marketing campaign is moving from traditional advertising to internet marketing, digital marketing, and micro-blogging marketing, etc.
In 2012, Lenovo added “Pioneer” to its 4P corporate culture, showing its intention to be a pioneer of the time. Internally, Lenovo has its unique innovation mechanism, including CEO innovation discussion, ideas management, etc, so as to promote the realization of technology and product R&D.
Sir James Dyson is the world’s most famous vacuum maker. His “never loses suction” vacuum is the top-selling vacuum cleaner in the world, and his company has since expanded into making better fans and hand dryers as well. He founded the James Dyson foundation in 2002 to nurture young engineers.
James Dyson said: “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution.”
Few British designers can claim to have had as much impact on the cleanliness of our homes as James Dyson – but the man’s achievements go far beyond hard-sucking vacuum cleaners.
A decade after the Cyclon came the DA001 (quickly renamed the DC01), the first vacuum cleaner sold under the Dyson name and, to put it mildly, a real game-changer (despite being a very similar design to the Cyclon). Dyson’s patented Dual Cyclone technology gave the DC01 huge suction power compared to its rivals (90 airwatts, to be precise) – although this came at a premium price.
Dyson has been working on a robotic vacuum cleaner for seemingly forever – but has never put it into production. James Dyson claims that the DC06 worked fantastically well thanks to an amazing complement of electronic brains and more suction power than rivals, but its 70 sensors and three on-board computers meant it was also fantastically expensive to build – it would have cost something like £2,500. The company put the project on ice, with James Dyson saying he wouldn’t build a cheap robotic vacuum that didn’t work as well as the pricey prototypes.
Dyson’s air-moving expertise wasn’t to be restricted to vacuum cleaners, and in 2006 it was applied to commercial hand dryers with the Airblade. Rather than using a wide stream of heated air to dry your sodden mitts, it produces a single layer of cool air moving at a speed of 400mph that dries hands in 10 seconds. Dyson says the Airblade uses less electricity than its competitors as well as working far more quickly, while the cooler air doesn’t increase bacteria to the same degree as traditional dryers.
In 2013, Dyson squeezed Airblade tech into a water tap, allowing people to wash and then dry their hands at the basin.
And in 2014, we can be sure that Dyson will continue to innovate with new tests, new failures and of course new products.
Google Developpers Group ( GDG ) of Cameroon organizes G DAYS Innovative Ideas Open 14 of 1 to 2 March 2014 at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering of Douala.
G DAYS Cameroon Open Innovative Ideas ( GDays IOI) is a national event which aims to create a technological lever arm in the IT ecosystem Cameroon innovation , boost students’ creativity and enhance the ability of firms to enter business opportunities.
G 14 DAYS Cameroon IOI follow the path begun by the first edition by adding a focus on the ( secondary and university ) education as a lever for innovation, the involvement of women in the technology field as strength and thinking work and efficiency in business and entrepreneurship in young as vector smarter management and the introduction of ” just in time” for better capitalizing on business opportunities.
The goal this year is to bring together more than 2,000 IT enthusiasts , students , developers, entrepreneurs and businesses around IT innovation , with an emphasis on solving social issues in Africa, especially those from Cameroon .
Powered by the slogan ” Innovation also be able to adapt existing technologies to the realities of Africa” , the IOI GDAYS 14 promises a rich set of sessions around Cloud Computing , Google Apps, the ” Smart Cities ” , robotics, mobile development , web development , etc. . led by international experts and the best local experts.
Check the web site of the event: http://gdgcameroon.org/
Launching a sustainable business goes well beyond learning how to draft a business plan or fill out a financing application.
It involves a range of skills, both “hard” and “soft”, such as managing a start-up enterprise, motivating employees, assembling a cohesive team, tailoring a product to a well-defined market, adapting rapidly to fast-changing circumstances and consumer sentiment, and understanding how to convert an interesting technology into a viable business. These skills are not acquired, and nor can businesses succeed, in a vacuum. They need a business “ecosystem”, where potential entrepreneurs can learn the right skills and innovation is both encouraged and nurtured. For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), this will require a change in the cultural attitude toward entrepreneurship.
Nascent ecosystem emerging in MENA
A nascent ecosystem has been emerging in MENA over the past five years. The few businesses that have achieved success in this evolving environment were private sector led, usually by members of the diaspora or those who had either studied or started a business abroad. These individuals come equipped with access to international networks and markets and they have clear incentives to see their ventures succeed. They invest their time as well as their money; key ingredients for a successful business ecosystem that need to be further encouraged. Governments need to know that strengthening innovation-led growth entails understanding and promoting investments in research and development (R&D), cultivating the necessary skills, putting in place a functional and effective business environment and the mechanisms to foster private and public collaboration.
Two initiatives from World Bank
The World Bank has launched two initiatives to support the fledgling ecosystem and help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in MENA. “Supporting the Ecosystem for Fostering a Dynamic Entrepreneurship” is funded by a Bank Development Grant Facility that supports regional partnerships for development. The program leverages a partnership between two leading regional incubators Oasis500 and Wamda to boost the support they already provide to pre and early start-ups across the region. In addition to expanding mentorship, skills development and access to investors, the incubators will also engage stakeholders (governments, universities, investors, other incubators) in each country as a means of expanding the partnership and broadening the transfer and exchange of critical knowledge and skills. Outreach is an important component and will include dissemination of success stories and “lessons learned.” To ensure they reach a diverse audience, a variety of media and platforms will be used, such as popular web sites, an Arabic Entrepreneurship Newsletter, comics, info graphics, cartoons and videos. Particular attention will be paid to rural areas and to groups who tend not to see themselves as entrepreneurs, such as women and youth. The Bank continues to seek funding and partnerships with other entities that have a track record of supporting entrepreneurship and building this capacity in the region.
The second initiative works at the policy level. The World Bank, the private sector, academia, think tanks, civil society experts and governments formed a community of practitioners to cultivate change through innovation and technology. “The How-to of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship” (ITE) was launched last year in Prague. It is a practitioners’ exchange, networking and learning activity. Its goal is to help countries in the region advance policies that promote the various elements required for a thriving, innovative economy. It provides an opportunity for the exchange of operational lessons from other countries on the “how” of public support in this area.
- Jamaica: hub of innovation in Caribbean? (worldofinnovations.net)
- Hello High Potential Global Women Entrepreneurs! (womenentrepreneursgrowglobal.org)
- Whodini Expands Offerings With Grappple Acquisition (prweb.com)
- Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Community as a Student Leader (studentambassadorsusa.com)
- Govt’s role sought in promoting women entrepreneurship (dawn.com)
- “Pi Slice and the Heavy Weights” Our First Visit at the WEF (pi-slice.com)
4-day visit to Santiago on Innovation
A 12-person delegation, headed by Julian Robinson, minister of state in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, has just returned from a four-day visit to Santiago, Chile, to see first-hand how that country is developing a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation.
The primary purpose of the mission was to visit Start-up Chile (SUP), a government-financed programme launched in August 2010 to attract early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their ventures in Chile, without taking equity in the firms.
Its goal was to convert Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America, akin to other centres of innovation in the world, particularly the Silicon Valley.
The Jamaican group was particularly thrilled to meet the founder of SUP, Nicolas Shea, a Stanford-educated entrepreneur who was recruited by the then minister of economy, Juan Andrés Fontaine, to join his staff as his entrepreneurship adviser. Only days after Shea relocated to Chile, a massive earthquake struck in February 2010, causing more than $15 billion in damages.
Today, after two and a half years, SUP is a highly successful programme that supports both foreigners and Chileans to create innovative ventures using much the same model as it did in 2010 with some minor changes to enhance its effectiveness.
Now, 40 per cent of the applications received are from Chile, but it is clear that the original objective of importing talent with a view to changing the entrepreneurial culture is still very much at the forefront of the programme.
To understand SUP innovative program
With a current budget of US$12 million per year, funded by Chile’s economic development agency CORFO, which is itself funded by a tax on mining companies operating in Chile, SUP can boast some impressive results.
Today, it has received 5,600 applications from 70 countries, admitted more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from 53 countries, and a host of social impacts – almost 600 “meet-ups” organised by SUP and participants or “suppers”, and 3,790 hours of mentorship provided by suppers. Additionally, there are all kinds of spin-off programmes supporting entrepreneurship and innovation and a global rush to emulate the programme’s design elements and impacts.
SUP has also created strong links to local and international companies and entrepreneurs, the global investor community, local and international universities and other programmes in Chile.
We visited one facility, Wayra, a tech incubator operated by Telefónica that incubates 10 companies for 10 months. The incubator manager, Claudio Barahona Jacobs said that Wayra wants to support international start-ups to capture the “winds of talent blowing” in its midst.
Wayra makes a direct investment of US$50,000 in each company in three parts: an initial sum and the other two tranches when agreed milestones are achieved. The investment is in the form of convertible notes. The incubator provides space and services, coaching in how to make a pitch to investors, how to run a company, to hire people and be a boss.
The entrepreneurs we spoke to said that the coaching was one of the most important elements of the programme, and they also participate in management courses run in collaboration with a local university.
Critical is making business links with Telefónica itself, using the company as a distribution channel or as a first customer, testing the applications developed by the entrepreneurs.
Telefónica has 11 million customers in Chile who have smartphones and 300 million business and consumer customers in 30 countries worldwide, so the company is a vital link to this huge market for mobile apps and business applications for its incubator clients.
Optimistic about Jamaica
SUP’s founder, Nicolas Shea, is optimistic about Jamaica and encouraged the group to adopt and adapt the best elements of the SUP programme. The World Bank and Minister Robinson plan to invite Shea and a number of the Chileans whom we met to Jamaica, later in the year, to continue discussions with a wider group of stakeholders.
Everyone on the mission agreed that Jamaica has the opportunity to replicate some of the successful elements of the Start-up Chile programme. Jamaica has talented and technologically savvy young people who are eager to tap into the global demand for creative applications that solve real-world business and social problems.
In so doing, they create their own employment. We have the interest and support of international development partners including the World Bank to finance initiatives that will support the growth of the Jamaican economy. It is an opportunity to forge public-private partnerships to provide early stage and venture capital financing for SMEs, mentorships and access to markets. But will our leaders champion such efforts to move us beyond mere talk? And will we collectively have the courage to act now to secure the future of our nation?
- Start-Up Chile: See Why Many Americans are Itching to Enter This Early-Stage Accelerator (youngentrepreneur.com)
- Wayra seeks 10 digital start-ups for Dublin incubator (siliconrepublic.com)
- Vanessa Van Edwards: Start-Up Chile: Growing Pains of the Chilecon Valley (huffingtonpost.com)
- Jamaica – the hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Caribbean? (emergingfrontiersblog.com)
- New Irish venture Reverbeo selected for Start-up Chile programme (siliconrepublic.com)
- Twin Cities-based Exotic Wood Chips LLC becomes Sole US Importer of Jamaican Pimento Wood, Leaves and Charcoal (prweb.com)
- The lure of Chilecon Valley (oguz.me)
- Wayra Dublin start-up accelerator makes last call for new entries (siliconrepublic.com)
HB-SIA, Solar Impulse prototype A
With its huge wingspan equal to that of an Airbus A340, and its proportionally tiny weight – that of an average car – the HB-SIA prototype presents physical and aerodynamic features never seen before. These place it in a yet unexplored flight envelope.
Carbon fiber structure, propulsion chain, flight instrumentation, everything has been designed to save energy, to resist the hostile conditions facing airplane and pilot at high altitudes and to marry weight restraints with the required strength.
Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range solar powered aircraft project being undertaken at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The project eventually hopes to achieve the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power. The project is led by Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, who co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop, and Swiss businessman André Borschberg.
Piccard initiated the Solar Impulse project in 2003. By 2009, he had assembled a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries, assisted by about 100 outside advisers. The project is financed by a number of private companies. The four main partners are Deutsche Bank, Omega SA, Solvay, and Schindler. Other partners include Bayer MaterialScience, Altran, Swisscom and Swiss Re. Other supporters include Clarins, Semper, Toyota, BKW and STG. The EPFL, the European Space Agency and Dassault have provided additional technical expertise, while Bay Area based SunPower provided the aircraft’s photovoltaic cells.
HB-SIB, the new plane will flight in 2015
It was not built to fly round the world. Its purpose was rather to demonstrate the feasibility of the program by making the first ever whole day-and-night flight without fuel, a task that it accomplished brilliantly in July 2010. The lessons learned by the team are now being applied to the construction of Solar Impulse HB-SIB, which is due to circumnavigate the Earth in 2015.
Question of energy defines the project
At midday, each square meter of land surface receives, in the form of light energy, the equivalent of 1000 watts, or 1.3 horsepower of light power. Over 24 hours, this sun energy averages out at just 250W/m². With 200m² of photovoltaic cells and a 12 % total efficiency of the propulsion chain, the plane’s motors achieve an average power of 8 HP or 6kW.
That’s roughly the amount of power the Wright brothers had available to them in 1903 when they made their first powered flight. And it is with that energy, optimized from the solar panel to the propeller, that Solar Impulse managed to fly day and night without fuel!
FIVE world records established by HB-SIA
Absolute height: 9235 m (30300 ft)
Height gain: 8744 m (28690 ft)
Duration: 26 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
Free Distance along a course: 1116 km (693.5 miles)
Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints: 1099.3 km (683 miles)
Across America 2013: Golden Gate end of April
- Solar Impulse site (solarimpulse.com)
- Solar plane sets off again across US (bbc.co.uk)
- Solar Impulse takes fuel-free flight to Dallas (nbcnews.com)
- Solar Impulse flight across America … (beartales.me)
- Solar Impulse Departs Phoenix, Headed To Dallas (earthtechling.com)
- Solar Impulse airplane is setting solar-powered flight record in Texas (nbcnews.com)
- Solar Impulse: interviewing a man on an 18-hour solar-powered flight (slashgear.com)
- Solar Impulse: Flying from San Francisco to New York City in a solar plane (treehugger.com)
IT was becoming more and more important to the financial security and operational efficiency of banking services, State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Governor Nguyen Van Binh said at a banking technology conference in Hanoi, mid May 2013.
Many areas including payments, lending, e-banking and risk management had been equipped with new and more diversified technology, he said, adding that some services were now completely automated.
Speeding up IT application and upgrading banks’ IT infrastructure were necessary to catch up with the trend, he stressed.
According to the SBV, many weaknesses in risk and banking management were exposed last year. The banking system is currently grappling with one of the region’s highest bad debt ratios, at 8.82 per cent of total loans.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Minh Hoang singled out cloud computing, mobile computing and social media as major trends that had completely transformed the way banks operate and interact with customers.
“A focus on improving bank governance and risk management practices and pushing the restructuring of under-performing banks will be the main theme for 2013,” he said.
In order to develop banking technology, the country should boost international co-operation and enhancing human resources and management, said SBV’s Banking Strategy Institute director Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh.
World Bank economist Noritaka Akamatsu said that improving insolvency and restructuring State-owned enterprises should be the main goals for the banking sector’s development.
The International Data Group, the co-organiser of the event together with the SBV, said that e-banking and mobile banking were showing great potential.
- Banking sector needs to embrace IT innovation (bizhub.vn)
- SBV stalls asset regulations as companies feel the pinch (vietnamnews.vn)
- Russians attempt to topple Google in Vietnam (sfgate.com)
- Social bank helps 21m poor (vietnamnews.vn)
- Lending over 4 months up 2.1% (vietnamnews.vn)
- Vietnam Premier Approves Debt Asset Company, Central Bank Says – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
A company in expansion
The story of American instant messaging is one of fragmentation: AOL lost its grip, Gmail and Facebook gained ground, that was that. But in China, IM portal Tencent dominates. It has expanded to games, social networking, apps, and an open platform to encourage a Western-style app ecosystem. It’s now pushing West, entering Apple’s App Store and buying California-based Riot Games. It makes $1 billion a quarter, much of it through virtual-goods sales, and is now the world’s third-largest publicly traded Internet company. Jealous yet, AOL?
8th most innovative company
Tencent, Chinese company from Shenzhen, is the 8th most innovative company, scored by the FastCompany in 2012. Founded in November, 1998, Tencent has grown into one of China’s largest and most used Internet service portal. Since its establishment over the last decade, Tencent has maintained steady growth under its user-oriented operating strategies.
Presently, Tencent is providing value-added Internet, mobile and telecom services and online advertising under the strategic goal of providing users with “one-stop online lifestyle services”. Tencent’s leading Internet platforms in China – QQ (QQ Instant Messenger), QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai and Tenpay – have brought together China’s largest Internet community, to meet the various needs of Internet users including communication, information, entertainment, e-commerce and others.
Copycat in gaming?
Now, even a die-hard Tencent fan might question why releasing China remakes of years-old franchises really qualifies as innovative, and China’s gaming community has been debating Tencent’s innovative tendencies — or lack thereof — ever since. The debate is the subject of Netease Games’ latest Dispute feature, which means that before we go any further I have to remind you: Netease competes with Tencent in the gaming space, so the Netease games editorial staff isn’t really coming from a position of neutrality here. But many gamers really do see Tencent as a copycat; when I searched for relevant posts on Weibo one of the first ones I found was about Tencent copying animation and sounds from the Japanese anime show Naruto for a QQ game.
In Dispute’s usual dueling essays format, Chinese gaming journalist Chang Kong defended Tencent as being innovative, saying that the company really did deserve the title for having brought together 300 million gamers. Chang’s opponent, an anonymous marketing strategist in the games industry, disagreed, arguing that most of Tencent’s own games were highly derivative, and pointing out that its most successful games were virtually all developed by other companies with Tencent merely serving as the publisher.
Most innovative social media company
China’s Tencent is the world’s most innovative social media company, ahead of Pinterest and Buzzfeed, according to Fast Company. Tencent gets the nod largely because the success of its WeChat suite of communications apps which have attracted 3 million Chinese users. “Tencent’s aggressive international rollout – rare for a Chinese company – has added millions of expats who can now communicate with folks back home, increasing its popularity. In America, WeChat is a top 20 free social networking app in Apple’s App Store,” says Fast Company.